The Ship JENNIE EASTMAN was constructed in the Harward Shipyard on the Kennebec at Bowdoinham. The year was 1863, and the United States was being ripped apart at the heart by the Civil War.
The 1,156 ton "Jennie Eastman" was one of the Harward's biggest and finest vessels. The ship-rigged, three-masted craft was 117 feet long; 34 feet, ten and a half inches wide; and more than 17 feet deep.
Master John Harward built the "Jennie Eastman", then named her for his youngest daughter Jennie, who had married a local seaman called Captain Edwin George Eastman.
John Harward was the son of Captain Thomas Harward, a master shipwright and seaman who started building vessels on Bowdoinham's Kennebec shore in 1817. The father and son team built at least thirty-one ships of all classes in their yard over a fifty year period. Their last effort was the ship-rigged, HENRY F. SANFORD, 1150 tons laden, which they launched in 1869. Silas Adams called the Harward operation "the shipyard that had the longest existence and built the most vessels" in Bowdoinham. In his HISTORY OF BOWDOINHAM, Adams also said that Harward vessels, "were almost exclusively ships of the largest tonnage of their day". The "Jennie Eastman" would certainly justify Adams' testimony.
Not a lot of information concerning the "Eastman" comes down to us today. She sailed the seas under at least two masters&emdash; John R. Kelley and William H. Starkey. She had what must have been an exciting career, running military supplies under the guns of Confederate cruisers in the Gulf of Mexico.
Bowdoinham Advertiser Vol II No 2
Frank Connors, Editor